Recently, I wrote that Community Conferences are “where it’s at” (the current Big Thing). That was only one half of the blog. Today I want to give specific examples from the most recent conference I attended, YeurDreamin’. It’s not just the technical talks which were great, but all the random conversations (networking) that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.
I’m going to start gently with food, but then move on through a huge tip when applying for jobs, being an ally, not-so-happy news from the world of nonprofits, and then I’ll attempt to peek at the next big thing.
IMPORTANT POINT: For those who say “this wouldn’t happen with me”, the Dutch say “step by step” (stap voor stap). A journey only starts when you make the first step. At my first community event, I just turned up. Only later on did I gradually gain the experience, knowledge and confidence to contribute as I do now. I did it at my own pace.
Food intolerances and allergies (tips!)
This is for newcomers: if you have food requirements of any sort please mention it on the sign up form, or in an email to the organisers afterwards. You are not alone and seeing you look ravenous or faint later during the day is frustrating.
In most countries, all venues legally have to cater for dietary needs, the chefs have a variety of ingredients at their disposal and probably enjoy the variety.
And if you can’t find your food? Ask an organiser, as it’s sitting in a corner so that no other buggers accidentally eat it. Otherwise it goes to waste.
When to apply for a job
Tip 1: Men often apply for jobs when they meet 30% of the advertised requirements; women are likely to only apply for a job when they believe they meet 90% or 110% of the requirements. So, if you’re female and reading this and recently passed over a job advert where you felt you only have 60% of the skills… then someone else, with fewer skills, has likely just got that interesting job, with improved salary, that you just passed over.
I know it’s not fair, but if you know that the goal posts aren’t where you expect them to be, hopefully this insight can make your aim more accurate.
Tip 2: Discuss your salaries with your colleagues. I was shocked by one particular discussion I had, speaking to a person with years of experience in the ecosystem… earning less than someone with a single year’s experience. Money is absolutely not the be-all and end-all, but is a component of job satisfaction and life goals to consider; it’s also an indicator as to how well your employer is doing (therefore your own long term prospects). Homes, pensions and trips to community conferences around the world all need to be paid for; and this issue (of being underpaid) is more prevalent for women than for men.
Do you want to be an Ally? One easy way!
This is my favourite tweet from the whole event. Being inclusive only brings joy.
Backstory: I was hugely grateful for the opportunity to brainstorm with an ecosystem partner on ways they could improve diversity, during YeurDreamin’. I hadn’t even expected them to be there but I bumped into them and was just the way the conversation flowed. To be honest I didn’t really provide any fresh information, but I gave them space to reflect and continue baking some ideas they already had.
Why it is important: I’m incredibly aware that the best projects I’ve been involved with have had a diverse make up. We tend to naturally gravitate to people that look like us, sound like us and think like us. That leads to groupthink. Diversity of perspective, on the other hand, improves resilience, brings fresh thinking and is more fun! In purely financial terms, it’s also more beneficial for all concerned. With that in mind, I recommend signing up to the BetterAllies newsletter which gives you, each week, a very easily digestible set of ideas and insights that you might not otherwise get; or you can follow their @BetterAllies twitter account.
Bonus: this wouldn’t have happened had the partner not come to YeurDreamin’. They regularly sponsor events, but as attendees (only) they were “off duty” and could benefit from all the other activities a community conference offers.
Nonprofits – not such great news
YeurDreamin’ presented me the opportunity to speak to other nonprofit specialists, consolidating various discussions that I’ve had over the last couple of years. Basically, the sum is that Salesforce and Salesforce.org are now treating nonprofits purely as revenue generating “targets”.
The stories of mis-selling to nonprofits are rampant, e.g. a nonprofit with 10 members of staff rarely needs Marketing Cloud, but Account Executives (AEs) are incentivised to sell and push that product regardless; most small nonprofits don’t have the capacity (skills, time, budget, experience, need) to implement and sustain it.
For the same reasons platform licences aren’t mentioned because they bring in little income for Salesforce, but can save a huge amount of money for nonprofits as they often don’t have a traditional “sales” process.
Want a full copy sandbox for a short period of time? Lock them into Unlimited Edition, where the high per-user licence fee remains well after the need for the full copy sandbox licence has long since gone.
I struggle to see how this aligns with the much-vaulted 1-1-1 model. And that’s all before I talk about the lack of significant innovation around the Nonprofit Success Pack – the focus is all on chargeable addons.
Salesforce runs the excellent Pro Bono program, with up to 20 donated hours, suitable for small projects, but avoid AEs for the sake of the long term financial health of your organisation.
It was also telling that there was no Salesforce.org presence at all this year.
Salesforce is a great product. Suitable for most small and medium sized nonprofits? Often not. If a nonprofit has a non-traditional business model such as service care or matching bikes with refugees, it could be perfect, but if it is all about fundraising and communicating with donors, then market surveys show that nonprofits have realised that there are more suitable off-the-shelf solutions available. It’s a shame to see Salesforce lose their leading position on this one, having previously broken the mold and reshaped expectations of nonprofits in so many ways.
Since writing this article I have been invited to a meeting in mid September 2022 with senior leadership from Salesforce.org. If you want to feedback to me in any way please drop me a line via firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn (include a msg with the connection request!) or twitter.
The next big thing?
Here’s one for those that love sharing their knowledge. If you really want to make an impact: create a workshop. People learn by doing, not by passively sitting. Sure everyone thinks they can learn that way, but most of us don’t. We fail to permanently absorb the vast majority of information taken in that way. Tactile memory is different.
Most community conferences ask for workshop submissions, but rarely get any applicants. It’s unique content that people can’t get elsewhere. For the few times I’ve seen them offered, it’s been hugely oversubscribed, so get your thinking caps on and give them a try out at a Salesforce Saturday or User Group meetup, and then submit them for a forthcoming Community Conference.
These were just some of my insights through completely unplanned conversations, both with people I knew, and people I was meeting for the first time. I ended up leaving simply due to being tired and needing to run an event the next day, rather than having run out of conversation. One person thought I was just being polite when I sent a LinkedIn request later in the week offering to chat because I had run out of time; I wasn’t – if they are reading this, that offer still very much stands.
Piqued your interest? I think community conferences are currently the best “in person” item in the ecosystem and there’s still at least ten conferences this year. Missed your local one? Sign up for their mailing list so you know when it’s on next year. Alternatively, a great excuse for a holiday!
Usually I thank people for reviewing and improving my articles before I press the “publish” button. Today is different – there’s two groups I need to stand back and recognise.
Best Volunteer: I feel this has to go to PJ (top middle, in the picture above, surrounded by all the YeurDreamin volunteers), Andre van Kampen’s husband. PJ doesn’t work in the Salesforce ecosystem but has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make YeurDreamin’ happen, epitomised by standing in the corner of the restaurant on the day itself, signposting people around the corner to one of the hidden breakout rooms. Not glamorous, but making the event successfully happen, meaning that hundreds of people had a great and fulfilling time.
Best DemoJam: Flair HR for smashing it out the house with a great, action packed, demo. It reminded me that a good AppExchange app can do all the hard work and lay out the processes you need for you. Well worth a look for all your hiring, on-boarding, vacation management and other HR needs.
And huge thanks to all the other sponsors: Did you know that your ticket is actually worth at least double that, not including the value of all the presenters’ time? This is because all the sponsors pay for the food, venue hire, swag and all the technical kit used. Your ticket is just a contribution, so do pay them a visit when attending events because without them it wouldn’t happen.